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When parents are separated, communicating with each other can sometimes be difficult.  Emotions are high and arrangements need to be made for the children but parents are still human and still feel the hurt associated with the breakdown of a relationship.  That said, responsible parents need to find ways to co-parent harmoniously and with the children front of mind.  These days, there is technology that can assist separated parents with their communication if face-to-face communication proves to be difficult.

If you are a separated parent and having difficulty communicating about your children, here are some helpful apps you might like to trial:

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If you have reached an agreement with your ex-partner regarding arrangements for your children, there are 2 ways that you can document that agreement, specifically:

  1. Parenting Plan; or
  2. Consent Orders.

Both Parenting Plans and Consent Orders document your parenting arrangement and include all relevant matters concerning your children such as where they will live, their communication with each parent, the responsibility each parent will have for the children and outlines a format for parents to communicate about schooling, medical and other major decisions.

However, there are significant differences between the 2 documents. This below table outlines the differences and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Consent Orders are completed by parties, lodged with the Court in addition to an Application for Consent Orders, and if accepted by the Court are made into Court Orders.

 Benefits of Consent Orders

  • Binding and enforceable;
  • Can incorporate your property settlement terms if you have also agreed on a division of your assets and liabilities;
  • Unable to be varied or overturned unless there is a significant change in circumstances warranting such an amendment (we note this can also be a disadvantage);
  • There are penalties if a parent does not comply with the Orders (unless they have a reasonable excuse for doing so).

 Disbenefits of Consent Orders

  • Difficult to vary or overturn unless a party can prove that there has been a significant change in circumstances to warrant such an amendment. Accordingly, you must be sure when signing orders that you are able to comply with them and that they will practically work for your children and family circumstances.

Parenting Plans can be drafted in any form that the parties select and are not required to be approved by the Court.

Benefits of Parenting Plans

  • Little to no formality requirements, and does not need to be witnessed;
  • Can be amended and varied to reflect your changing parenting arrangements.

Disbenefits of Parenting Plans

  • Unable to be enforced, noting that it does not have the force of a Court Order, but rather, merely acts as evidence towards the ‘intention’ of the parties;
  • There are no consequences if a parent does not follow the terms of a parenting plan.

We recommend that families with any of the following issues enter into Consent Orders, so that if any issue does arise and becomes contentious in the future, it can quickly be resolved by reference to the Orders and, if necessary, enforcement by the Court:

  • Negative and/or poor parental communication;
  • Domestic violence;
  • Mental health issues;
  • Children with health difficulties;
  • Risk that a parent may relocate with the child;
  • Disputes in relation to the children’s schooling, name, culture, or medical decisions; or
  • Have a history of one or both parents not complying with previously arranged agreements,

We recommend that as soon as you and your spouse have reached an arrangement for your parenting, that you obtain specialist family law advice before signing off on any documentation to ensure that the agreement you have reached is appropriately reflected in your agreement, is an arrangement that will practically work for you and your children, and is enforceable.

Going through a separation can be one of the most challenging times a person will experience.  It is challenging both emotionally and financially and the challenges faced by parties going through a separation can sometimes lead to poor decision-making.  In our experience, there are some really common mistakes that parties make when going through their separation. Here are our top 5:

1.          Using family and friends for legal advice: 

One of the most common things we hear from clients is something along the lines of “My friend got divorced and they got this so they told me I can get that too”.  Listening to what happened to your friend or family member who went through a separation can be one of the most common mistakes you can make as your expectations may be for an entirely unrealistic outcome in your circumstances.

Each matter is unique, with its own set of facts and circumstances.  Those facts and circumstances will have the biggest impact upon the outcome of a matter as will other variables such as how a matter is resolved.  Just because your friend or family member got something does not mean that you will get it too.  You are paying your lawyer good money for quality legal advice that has come about as a result of rigorous training and a wealth of experience and you should listen to that advice as opposed to a colleague at morning tea!

2.          Becoming entrenched in a position: 

Going through a separation is expensive, even if you manage to sort out your issues with little legal intervention.  This is because there is a division of assets, so everyone is already walking away with less.

In some matters it is tempting for parties to want to chase every single rabbit down every single hole but this often leads parties to become entrenched in their position and forget the bigger picture.  So often, we see clients who want to “stand firm” or “make them accountable” however, the family law process is the wrong place to look for vindication; the family law process is best used to try and look for a resolution.  As such, it can be very important to approach the matter at all times with an open mind, considering the commercial reality and looking to settle as early as possible.

3.          Telling your lawyer only half of the story and not doing your homework: 

A lawyer can only prepare a client’s case so far and on the instructions they are provided.  If you only tell your lawyer half the story, then your case will only be prepared half the way.  Invariably the whole story often always comes out towards the end of a matter, particularly in Court proceedings.  One of the worst things you can do is not be upfront about everything with your lawyer because then your lawyer does not have the ability to try and get in front of it.  This can cause issues of credibility, which can significantly negatively impact your end result.

Similarly, if you don’t do your homework (yes there will be homework) then this can severely inhibit your lawyer’s ability to prepare your case because your lawyer will not have the information available to progress your matter.

4.          Involving the children: 

It is unfortunately very common for parents to involve their children in their separation unnecessarily.  This can be a conscious and an unconscious decision.  Notwithstanding whether it is a conscious or unconscious decision, involving your children in your separation is a big mistake and should be avoided at all costs.

Firstly, it is quite damaging to children to be involved in their parent’s separation, regardless of the child’s age.  Children are already adjusting to a massive change in their family circumstances and to then deal with the stress of being involved in their parent’s separation and any acrimony does absolutely nothing to protect a child’s interests.

Secondly, involving the children in your dispute can lead to the Court holding you in a very negative light which can have a negative impact upon your outcome.

5.          Posting on social media: 

In this age of social media and instant technology, it can be all too tempting to vent your frustrations and seek support from your social media friends.  This is a very big mistake.  Once something is on the Internet, there is a digital footprint and it can be accessed and used against you.  To put it really simply, posting about your family law matter on social media or the Internet can be an absolute strategic disaster.

There have been numerous cases in the Family Court whereby parties’ social media posts have been accessed by the other party and used against the poster in their proceedings.  These posts are often viewed by the Family Court as being indicative of a total lack of insight into behaviour and can result it an unfavourable outcome.  If in doubt, put the phone away and step away from the computer.

It is only natural that at some point, emotions may get the best of you when going through a separation.  However, if you can avoid making any of the above mistakes, then you will significantly assist in the proper preparation of your case.

This weekend is Mother’s Day, a day that most children recall with fondness in their later years. Unfortunately, for separated parents it can be a difficult day to navigate. To avoid any stress or conflict on the day, it is a good idea to discuss and coordinate a clear arrangement with your former partner now.

Depending on your individual circumstances, some arrangements may work better than others. For instance, some parents arrange for the children to spend the entirety of the Mother’s Day weekend with their mum and that such arrangement is also implemented for dad on Father’s Day later in the year. Alternatively, other parents agree to share part of the day or weekend with the children if it is important that the children have the opportunity to celebrate their mums and other significant maternal figures in their lives such as their grandmothers or step-mums.

There is no one-size fits all arrangement when it comes to organising special occasions with your former partner. Some helpful tips to ensure your children have the best Mother’s Day include:

  1. Remember it is about the children. Although it is called “Mother’s Day”, the occasion is an opportunity for kids to celebrate their mums just as Father’s Day is an opportunity with kids to celebrate their dads. It is important to not let this day become a competition about “whose day it really is”.
  2. Reduce the potential for conflict. Discuss and organise with your former partner a clear arrangement for the weekend which may include the day, time and location that changeover will occur for the children and who will or will not be present at changeover.
  3. Reciprocate the arrangement for Father’s Day. It is often beneficial to agree that the same arrangement agreed to for Mother’s Day is also implemented for Father’s Day. This way, neither mum or dad feel like they are missing out on celebrating special occasions with their children.
  4. Confirm the arrangement set out in your parenting Orders or parenting plan. If you and your partner have already negotiated arrangements for Mother’s Day and included that agreement in Court Orders or parenting plan, it may be beneficial to confirm the arrangement prior to the weekend to ensure that there is no confusion for you, your former partner or the children.

As a dad, you may also consider helping your children organise a gift for their mum, whether it be as small as some chocolate, a personalised mug or a handmade card. Special occasions can sometimes make children feel caught in the middle between wanting to do something special for one parent without wanting to hurt the feelings of the other parent. By involving yourself in the process of organising a gift for your former partner, it will not only help ease any anxieties that may be experienced by your kids but also extends as a gesture of goodwill which may assist your co-parenting relationship in the future.

If you are experiencing any difficulty negotiating appropriate arrangements for your children with your former partner, then please do not hesitate to contact the family law team at Southern Waters Legal on (02) 9523 5535 to assist you further.

When parents separate, it is very common for one parent to pay child support to the other to assist in financially supporting the children of the relationship.  In lots of circumstances, the payment of child support is collected and administered through the Child Support Agency, an arm of the Department of Human Services in our Federal Government.

The overwhelming majority of parents do the right thing by their children and pay what is required of them, however there are some parents who try their utmost to skip out on their obligations to financially support their children.  Thankfully, they are the exception rather than the rule.  However, this does raise the question, how are parents trying to avoid paying child support and what are the consequences to those payers of child support who try to skip out on their obligations?

How?

Recently, there has been an alarming number of websites and ‘agencies’ pop up that allege to help people avoid paying child support.  Some of the ways in which they propose people do this include:

  • increasing the time the payer of child support spends with the children;
  • actively avoiding seeking pay increases at work, including saying no to overtime;
  • becoming self-employed so that parties can control the income that is declared;
  • donating to charity to increase the deductions in parties’ taxation returns (thereby lowering their income for the purposes of the child support calculations);
  • having more children; and
  • in the most extreme cases, fleeing the country to a non-participating jurisdiction.

The danger of these websites and ‘agencies’ is that the advice they offer is usually not legal advice and ignores the consequences of these actions (in our view it also just ignores the basic morality of providing financial support for children and fails to remind parents that there are no winners in avoiding child support responsibilities and it often is only the children who suffer as a result).

So what are the consequences of skipping out on child support obligations?  And if you are receiving child support and think your former partner is engaging in any of the above conduct, what can you do to ensure your children are receiving the right amount of support?

Consequences

In some cases, the payer of child support will simply just not pay their child support.  But if this happens there are a variety of remedies available to ensure that child support, or arrears of child support are paid.  These include:

  1. asking the Child Support Agency to have child support deducted by the employer directly from the payer’s wages, however this is dependent upon your child support arrangements being registered with the Child Support Agency;
  2. asking the Australian Taxation Office to deduct owed child support from any taxation returns owed to the payer of child support;
  3. asking the Child Support Agency to issue a Departure Prohibition Order.  This means that the Agency can stop people who owe child support from leaving the country and it has been quite effective, there are recent cases where payer’s of child support have been stopped at the airport on their way to some luxury holiday only to be told that they won’t be going anywhere until they pay up.  It’s the Government’s way of saying that if you can afford to go on a holiday, you can afford to support your children as you are legally required to; and
  4. as a last resort, initiating debt recovery proceedings in Court.

In other cases, as mentioned above, payer’s of child support may take some of the above step to minimise or avoid the amount of child support that they are required to pay.  Thankfully there are lots of remedies available to the parties who are owed child support, the two main remedies include:

(a) Entering into a Binding Child Support Agreement whereby you specify and ‘lock in’ your child support arrangements however the downfall with this remedy is that it relies upon the consent of the other party; and

(b) Lodging an application for review with the Child Support Agency on the basis of special circumstances (such as a suspicion that there has been an under-reporting of income).

If you are experiencing difficulties with your child support arrangements, then please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced team here at Southern Waters Legal so that we can help you navigate the difficulties you are experiencing.

When parties separate, a very common question is, who moves out of the family home?  Another common question is, my friends have told me I need to stay in the house, is that true?

In reality, nobody actually has to move out of the family home for separation to have occurred.  It is entirely possible to be separated and living under the one roof and this is quite a common occurrence.  Sometimes it is not possible for one party to move out of the family home because of a variety of reasons, financial reasons being prime among them.  You generally cannot force the other party to move out, nor can the other party force you to move out – this is so even if one party solely owns the family home.

If however, it is entirely impractical for both parties to remain living under one roof and one party refuses to move out, then there is an option for a party to file an Application in Court seeking that they have what is called ‘exclusive occupation’ of the family home.  This means that the Court will be asked to exclude one party from the family home.  The success of that application will depend upon the facts of the matter.

Notwithstanding the above however, it is also very common for one party to move out of the family home noting that the emotional strain of continuing to live together while a relationship is ending can be too much.  This gives rise to some very common questions, which we answer below:

1.          If one of the parties moves out of the family home, who pays the mortgage?

Legally speaking, the parties to the mortgage are responsible for maintaining the mortgage.  However, in family law, the practical reality is often that the party staying in the home will maintain the mortgage noting that the other party will then have the financial burden of their relocation costs and potentially payment of rental costs.

2.          If one of the parties is a stay at home mother, doesn’t work and stays in the family home, does she have to pay for the costs of the family home?

Sometimes, if the party staying in the home doesn’t have the ability to maintain the costs of the family home, then it might be possible for the other party to continue to maintain those costs if they have the capacity to do so.

This may come about as a result of the parties agreeing to this arrangement, or it may be necessary to file an Application with the Court seeking that the Court make interim (temporary) Orders for this to occur.  The success of such an application would depend upon being able to prove that one party has the capacity not only to maintain their own living costs but also to continue to pay the expenses of the family home.

 3.          What happens if the party staying in the home refuses to pay for the costs of the family home?

Most often if this happens it will be necessary to file an Application with the Court seeking Orders that:

    • compel that party to maintain the costs of the family home; or
    • sell the family home if neither party has the capacity to maintain the costs of the home; or
    • force that party to move out and for the other party to move in if they have the capacity to retain the home and maintain the costs of the home.

4.          If one party moves out, does it effect that party’s entitlement to that property?

There is a common myth that if one party moves out of the family home then they will not be able to get that property or they will have no entitlement to the property.  This is false.  The property will form what is called the asset pool and will be counted when considering how property is to be divided.

Practically speaking, it can often be harder to be the one to retain the family home if you are not living in it and the other party is living in it and has been maintaining the home and also wants to keep it.  This is because the party living in the home will often have reduced motivations to progress the matter if it means there will be a contest about the property.  As a result, parties may often be advised to remain in the family home if they are looking to retain that home.  However, the emotional toll of this can be high and the emotional and physical health of you and your children must always be the priority.

We often say at Southern Waters Legal that knowledge is power and we would be pleased to empower you.

If you have separated and have any questions about the practicality of moving out, or being separated under the one roof, or just generally about your separation, then please contact our family law team so that we can help guide you through the process.

Christmas is an exciting time of year, one filled with love and laughter, but also quite a hectic time of year getting presents ready for family.

Finishing off jobs at work can cause emotions to rise and the stress that comes with it. So can you imagine what would happen in the event that your work involved not only ensuring that everything was done by the strict deadline of Christmas, but also fulfilling the wishes of billions of people around the world?

Recently we found out when we had our new client Mrs Claus come in to see us.

You see, Mr and Mrs Claus generally have a quiet and simple life during the year, but December is absolutely manic for them and finally, in 2018, something snapped for Mrs Claus and she’d decided she’d had enough!

Santa has been working triple-double overtime and Mrs Claus has not been able to see him. With Mrs Claus permission, we’ll talk you through the considerations that were taken into account when Mrs Claus sat down with us for family law advice.

Property Settlement

Whilst everyone knows Santa has a naughty and nice list, his behavior in relation to his family law settlement makes me want to consider whether he actually sits on the naughty list himself.

As is often the case with a property settlement, exact values are not known and parties need to estimate them. For example, when you have a property and one of you want to keep it, you are never going to sell it just to find out the exact value. Accordingly, you will need to agree on a value. This is where things came a bit unstuck with Santa and Mrs Claus. You see, Santa believes his vast property empire at the North Pole and small subsidiaries in each shopping Centre throughout the world that he holds and owns in December each year are worth nothing. Mrs Claus obviously begs to differ. He is one of the largest landholders in the world. Santa’s property portfolio is vast and substantial. Accordingly, we have had to ask a Valuer to value the landholdings in the North Pole and associated areas. Now whilst it may not be prime farming land, or for many people, even considered to be habitable, it is actually home to thousands of elves and a number of reindeer. As such, it does provide substantial value. The same thing applies to Santa’s Toy Operation. Now whilst kids do not pay for the toys they receive, Santa does not do everything of his own accord. Out of complete goodwill, Santa is actually paid a licensing fee to create the toys and makes a healthy profit. He normally takes off for six months each year and goes to a little known Caribbean Island to relax with Mrs Claus.

Santa’s Business

Again, as is often the case, Santa believes that his business is worth nothing without him and that it is not a transferable business and therefore, the value of the business should be considered to be zero. With profits in the hundreds of millions of dollars each year and turn over in the billions of dollars, this is obviously not the case. Santa is running quite a substantial business. It unfortunately looks as though we will be going to Court on this one, but we contend that the Easter Bunny or Mickey Mouse would easily be able to fulfill the role of Santa, if Santa was to no longer at work.

In accordance with the Family Law Act, it will be essential for us to do the following to properly advise as to an appropriate %-split in any property settlement to Mrs Claus:

  1. Identify each of the assets and attribute a value to them by exchanging financial information and obtaining valuations where necessary;
  2. Assess both Mr & Mrs Claus’ contributions to their relationship, both at the commencement and throughout;
  3. Assess both Mr and Mrs Claus’ future needs, such as, whether Mrs Claus will have to look after the reindeer after they separate; and
  4. Assess whether the proposed split is just and equitable in light of their circumstances.

Parental Arrangements

Rudolf

Often the financial aspects are difficult to resolve, but they get resolved at the end of the day and parties move on. What is a more pressing issue and one that needs to be managed and dealt with for a lot longer and continuously is who will look after the children of the relationship, where they live and how often each party gets to see them.

Now unfortunately Santa and Mrs Claus were unable to have children, but they do have their reindeer, which they treat as children. Those reindeer, named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, were vitally important to both Santa and Mrs Claus and this is where we hit a real stumbling block. You see Santa wanted them to be with him at all times, but realistically, he uses their services just once a year on Christmas Eve and whilst he had a rapport with them, did not spend a lot of time with them. Now, as you can appreciate, while Santa was so busy working, Mrs Claus had to find other things to do and she found comfort in the reindeers. Accordingly, she wanted them to spend all of their time with her. Now this argument could have gone on and on, however we suggested to both Mrs Claus and Santa that they were going to be parents not partners, in relation to the reindeer and that they would need to consider what is in the best interest of the reindeer. Now obviously the reindeer love both Santa and Mrs Claus and wanted a resolution to be reached where they could each see them. Fortunately, it looks like we will be able to arrange this and the reindeer might even be able to go on a trip to that Caribbean Island for a couple of months a year and relax.

In any event, I’ve told Mrs. Claus that before running off to Court about her time with the Reindeer, she’ll need to head off to mediation with Santa to try and reach an agreement.

With all this resolved by Southern Waters Legal in the great Christmas rush that exists around family law and Christmas, Christmas can continue for 2018. Whist at this stage it is only a trial separation and we are hopeful that Santa can obtain a healthier work/life balance and Mrs Claus can recognise the need and desire for Santa at that particular month of the year. The resolution we have reached means that everyone can have a very merry, Merry Christmas.

Santa Claus - Divorce & Separation

With school holidays coming up, it can be a difficult time for separated families to agree upon and juggle arrangements in relation to their children and what time they will spend with each parent.

Unfortunately for those families the tension and stress associated with making this decision can add to making the process more difficult.

This stress can be eliminated if parents enter into an agreement in relation to the time each party will have. Many of our clients like the idea of having certainty in relation to the care of the children so that they do not have to renegotiate with their partner each year or at the beginning of each holiday break the time they will have.

There are two options to formalise an arrangement for families in this situation:

  1. Parenting Orders made by a Court; and
  2. A Parenting Plan

Parenting Orders

The majority of our clients will agree upon an arrangement in relation to the children and formalise this arrangement by way of parenting Orders. If agreement is reached between the parties, that agreement can be forwarded to the Court without either party having to attend court.

Parenting Orders address many issues, including the decision making for the children, the time the children will have with each parent on a week-to-week basis and also (if drafted properly) such Orders will address the “special” days including:

  • Birthdays (the parents’ and children’s)
  • Father’s Day,
  • Mother’s Day
  • Easter
  • Christmas
  • New Years Eve
  • Public holidays
  • School holidays

When drafting Orders insofar as they relate to school holidays, a normal practice may be for one party to have the children in the first week of the term school holiday break with the second parent having the children in the second week of the school holiday break. (This is dependent on parents ability to care for the children and accommodate such time).

It is not uncommon for the time to commence immediately following the end of term through until 12noon on the midpoint Saturday in the school holiday period, and provides for time to conclude at 5pm on the Sunday before school reconvenes.

Each Order can be different and drafted accordingly to suit the needs of the party and the children, for example, where children in private schools have longer holidays than children in catholic and public schools.

The benefit of a Court Order is that it is legally enforceable and your ex partner is bound by the arrangement once it is made an Order of the Court.

Parenting Plans

Parenting Plans are usually voluntarily written agreements made between the parties with the help of mediators or lawyers that are signed and dated. They are more flexible than parenting Orders and can be changed regularly allowing a new agreement to be negotiated at different points in time.

Parenting plans can outline the same issues as Orders, however the important difference between plans and parenting Orders is that a parenting plan is not legally binding. The court will consider a parenting plan in addressing any subsequent parenting application but it is not a legally enforceable agreement.

One of the tips and traps that we recommend to each client that comes to see us when planning for the year ahead, is to try and have a line of communication with your ex-partner via email or otherwise, whereby you acknowledge and agree upon the proposed dates at the commencement of each year.

One step that a very successful client takes, is to buy a calendar at the outset of the year and highlight each parent’s respective time with the children, for the year ahead.

When this is planned from the outset, it reduces potential conflict between the parties and assists them in minimising any conflict so far as the children are concerned. This also helps the children know in advance what arrangements are in place for the upcoming holidays.

Each matter is different, so it is our practice at Southern Waters Legal to deal with each parties individual circumstances when they arise and address which option suits them better in their circumstances.

If you would like any further information or assistance with your family’s situation, please contact our family law team on 9523 5535

People often talk about going through a “messy divorce”, when in fact, obtaining a divorce is the easiest part of separation. Are you considering getting a divorce and wondering what the process will be like?

Married couples in Australia can apply for divorce if their marriage has broken down irretrievably. To apply for an Application for Divorce the parties need to be separated for a period of at least 12 months; and

• One of the parties must regard Australia as their home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely or

• be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or grant of Australian Citizenship, or

• have lived in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing the divorce.

Step 1: Separation

In Australia, you must be separated for at least twelve months prior to applying for your divorce. What some people aren’t aware is that you and your spouse can be separated but living under the same roof for a period of time. Often due to financial or emotional reasons parties are unable to formally separate and live in different residence, so they may initial separate and live in the same home until they resolve their property settlement.

Step 2: Preparing your Application

When filing an Application for Divorce you can do so by yourself, or jointly with your former spouse. Either way you need to complete an Application for Divorce form which is quite straight forward and can be downloaded from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia website. When you file the Application you are charged the Court filing fee, which is currently $1,200. When you file the application for divorce you are also required to file a copy of your marriage certificate.

When you prepare your application you need to answer some questions including where and when you married, when you separated and you are also required to provide some information about any children from the marriage who are under the age of 18. If you have not signed an application for divorce jointly you must ensure that your partner is served with the application. The court cannot hear the application or grant the divorce if your partner has not been formally served.

Step 3: Your Divorce Hearing

You do not always, depending on your circumstances, have to attend court when your divorce application is heard. You must attend your Divorce Hearing where:

  • You made the Application for Divorce yourself; and/or
  • You and your former spouse have children who are under the age of 18 years.

If you do not have children under 18, or if you or your former spouse made a joint Application for Divorce, you can both choose not to attend your divorce hearing and the matter will be dealt with in your absence.

What happens at the hearing?

Your matter will be one of many divorce applications listed before the Court on any given day. Many people get their lawyer to attend with them when their divorce hearing occurs. Divorce hearings are generally quite brief. During the hearing, the Registrar may ask you questions about the information in your application or about the service of your application if relevant. If young children are involved, the Registrar may also ask about the arrangements for the care of the children, such as which parent they live with, how often they spend time with the other parent and how they are financially supported.

Step 4: The Outcome

If a Registrar is satisfied that the grounds for divorce have been established, and the Application for divorce has been properly served, the Court will grant the Divorce. One month and one day following the day of the hearing a Divorce Order will be sent to you and your former spouse and this is the formal documentation that acknowledges that you are formally divorced.

Clients often obtain a divorce after the parties have resolved all other issues in dispute including the property division, the care arrangements of the children, the financial support of the children, and the financial support of either party. In some case if matters are taking some time to resolve clients may file the application after the 12 month period of separation has occurred.

Of great importance for any party filing an application for divorce is the need to remember that once a certificate of Divorce has been obtained the parties must, if they have not already, commence proceeding in respect of their property settlement within 12 months of the certificate being obtained.

If we can assist you in the preparation of an Application for Divorce or in finalising a property or parenting settlement please do not hesitate to contact us on (02) 9523 5535.